Ministry of Labour (United Kingdom)

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Labour Exchange Reading, Berkshire, UK during second world war A Picture of a Southern Town- Life in Wartime Reading, Berkshire, England, UK, 1945 D25240.jpg
Labour Exchange Reading, Berkshire, UK during second world war

The Ministry of Labour was a British government department established by the New Ministries and Secretaries Act 1916. It later morphed into the Department of Employment. [1] Most of its functions are now performed by the Department for Work and Pensions.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

The Secretary of State for Employment was a position in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom. In 1995 it was merged with Secretary of State for Education to make the Secretary of State for Education and Employment. In 2001 the employment functions were hived off and transferred to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Department for Work and Pensions United Kingdom government ministerial department

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is the largest government department in the United Kingdom, and is responsible for welfare and pension policy.



After the New Ministries and Secretaries Act 1916 the Ministry of Labour took over Board of Trade responsibilities for conciliation, labour exchanges, labour and industrial relations and employment related statistics. Following the First World War it supervised the demobilisation and resettlement of ex-servicemen. In the 1920s it took over all Board of Education work relating to youth employment and responsibility for training and employment of the disabled from the Ministry of Pensions. It also supervised trade union regulations.

Board of Trade committee of the United Kingdom Privy Council

The Board of Trade is a British government department concerned with commerce and industry, currently within the Department for International Trade. Its full title is The Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council appointed for the consideration of all matters relating to Trade and Foreign Plantations, but is commonly known as the Board of Trade, and formerly known as the Lords of Trade and Plantations or Lords of Trade, and it has been a committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. The Board has gone through several evolutions, beginning with extensive involvement in colonial matters in the 17th Century, to powerful regulatory functions in the Victorian Era, to virtually being dormant in the last third of 20th century. In 2017, it was revitalized as an advisory board headed by the International Trade Secretary who has nominally held the title of President of the Board of Trade, and who at present is the only privy counsellor of the Board, the other members of the present Board filling roles as advisers.

Under the Trade Boards Act 1918 the Ministry enforced the minimum wage, helped establish joint industrial councils, and set up the Industrial Court in 1919 for arbitration of industrial disputes. It proposed multiple Unemployment Insurance Acts amendments, administered benefits through employment exchanges, employed the unemployed through special works schemes (through the Unemployment Grants Committee), and represented the UK at the International Labour Organization from 1919).

The Trade Boards Act 1918 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that heavily shaped the post-World War I system of UK labour law, particularly regarding collective bargaining and the establishment of minimum wages. It was the result of the second of five Whitley Committee reports.

Arbitration Mediated dispute resolution method

Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), is a way to resolve disputes outside the courts. The dispute will be decided by one or more persons, which renders the "arbitration award". An arbitration award is legally binding on both sides and enforceable in the courts.

International Labour Organization Specialised agency of the United Nations

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social justice and promote decent work by setting international labour standards. It was the first specialised agency of the UN. The ILO has 187 member states: 186 of the 193 UN member states plus the Cook Islands are members of the ILO. The tripartite structure is unique to the ILO where representatives from the government, employers and employees openly debate and create labour standards.

From 1939, the department was renamed the Ministry of Labour and National Service, reflecting new duties under the National Service (Armed Forces) Act 1939. It allocated people to work between the armed forces, civil defence and industry, and to administer the Schedule of Reserved Occupations. The National Joint Advisory Council, comprising employers' and workers' representatives, was consulted. From 1941, one Deputy Secretary for the Ministry controlled peacetime work, and another coordinated work on manpower statistics, intelligence, armed forces recruitment, civilian war work and training and labour supply.

The National Service Act 1939 was enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom on 3 September 1939, the day the United Kingdom declared war on Germany at the start of the Second World War. It superseded the Military Training Act 1939 and enforced full conscription on all males between 18 and 41 who were residents in the UK. It was continued in a modified form in peacetime by the National Service Act 1948.

In April 1945, functions relating to unemployment insurance and assistance were transferred to the Ministry of National Insurance, but the Ministry of Labour retained responsibility for employment exchanges. In June 1945, the Board of Trade was handed responsibility for industrial policy, except that concerning labour power. At the end of the War, the National Service Department wing was wound up and its functions passed to the Military Recruitment Department.

In 1947 the ministry introduced the Control of Engagement Order, 1947, which limited the rights of workers to leave various industries, and gave labour exchanges the right to direct the unemployed to specific jobs.

The Control of Engagement Order, 1947 was an order issued by the Ministry of Labour which disallowed people to leave various industries and required all those seeking work to find employment through a labour exchange, and accept jobs a directed. Moreover "employers shall not engage for employment men between the ages of 18 and 50, and women between the ages of 18 and 40, or seek to engage such persons, except through the Ministry of Labour exchanges."

In 1959 the department became the Ministry of Labour once more. It was renamed the Department of Employment and Productivity in 1968, and became the Department for Employment in 1970. [1]

See also

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  1. 1 2 Jon Davis "Employment, Department of (1970–95)" in John Ramsden (ed) The Oxford Companion to British Politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.222